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Tag Archives: thomas merton

Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

Today is the feast of Thomas Merton who died 46 years ago. Next year, 31 January, it is 100 years since his birth. He is one of the most-influential spiritual writers of recent times.

He was born in Prades, France, of a Kiwi father and American mother. His dad went to the school where I am chaplain, and the Merton family name is significant in the school.

I spearheaded adding him to the NZ Anglican calendar, and I’m delighted he is formally celebrated in The Episcopal Church in Holy Women Holy Men. The collect there is:

Gracious God,
you called your monk Thomas Merton to proclaim your justice out of silence,
and moved him in his contemplative writings
to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others:
Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ;
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A particularly famous prayer that Thomas Merton himself wrote is:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.

If you wish to explore further, put “Thomas Merton” into the search box on the top right of this site and you will be pointed to a variety of resources and reflections.

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Thích Nhất Hạnh

Thomas Merton and Thích Nhất Hạnh
Thomas Merton and Thích Nhất Hạnh

Thích Nhất Hạnh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace activist, living in the Plum Village Monastery in the Dordogne region in the South of France, last week experienced a severe brain haemorrhage and was brought to hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition.

A litany for peace of his is found in A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (page 163). The Oxford Book of Prayer (pages 306-7) dates this litany to 1976. Here it is as found in the Prayer Book:

Let us be at peace within ourselves.

Silence

Let us accept that we are profoundly loved
and need never be afraid.

Silence

Let us be aware of the source of being
that is common to us all
and to all living creatures.

Silence

Let us be filled with the presence of the great compassion
towards ourselves and towards all living beings.

Silence

Realising that we are all nourished
from the same source of life,
may we so live that others be not deprived
of air, food, water, shelter, or the chance to live.

Silence

Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
a cause of suffering to one another.

Silence

With humility let us pray for the establishment
of peace in our hearts and on earth.

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25 Books Every Christian Should Read

25 Books Every Christian Should Read

25 Books Every Christian Should Read

25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Spiritual Classics This is not a book review. I don’t own this book – I will think about buying it. I was asked by an e-friend, in relation to this list of 25 books every Christian should read: how many have I read, or…Continue Reading

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feast of Thomas Merton

feast of Thomas Merton

feast of Thomas Merton

Above: Fr. Matthew Kelty, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in which Thomas Merton was a monk, reads the prayer of Thomas Merton found in Thoughts In Solitude THE ROAD AHEAD My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know…Continue Reading

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liturgy at General Synod

I have been able to find out a bit more about debates relating to liturgy at the meeting of General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia meeting in Gisborne from today. Motion 5 (below) is the one that confuses and concerns me most, followed by the bill on Ashes to…Continue Reading

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Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton died 41 years ago today. Some years back I moved a motion at our diocesan synod, the cogs of which have been slowly working – (ACANZP’s) General Synod is anticipated to have its second vote on this in 2010 and then, after a year “lying on the table” (for anyone to make a…Continue Reading

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